New bill would make equal parenting time standard in child custody cases

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A new bill before Illinois lawmakers would make equal parenting time the standard in child custody cases.

House Bill 185, sponsored by Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) and Allen Skillicorn (R-West Dundee), would add language to Illinois law “recognizing that the involvement of each parent for equal time is presumptively in the children’s best interests.”

“It would be huge because it would bring the importance of both parents being involved in their children’s’ lives,” Illinois Fathers for Equality co-founder Chad Loudermilk said. “And the courts would then see and say that both parents are very important in their kids lives and that’s all we’re asking for.”

The bill would also delete current language which does not require each parent to receive decision-making responsibilities in respect to their child.

The court would be charged with allocating parental time unless both parents present a “mutually agreed” written parenting plan for court approval.

The court would be required to take a number of factors into consideration when allocating parental time, such as the wishes of the parent and the child, and any restrictions based upon factors such as a parent’s previous threats or physical violence, sexual violence or other abuse. There are 17 potential restrictions on parental time listed in the bill.

“We don’t want to put any children in harms way,” Loudermilk said. “But, we want fit and loving parents to receive and have the ability to have their kids in their lives.”

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